- Swaziland has resorted to scale up male circumcision to avert worsening HIV/AIDS infection in the country.
The country joined ranks of hundreds of Swazi men who have opted for circumcision, after United Nations announcment last year that it could cut risk of contracting HIV virus by at least 60 percent.
Swaziland, which currently, with help of training from Israeli surgeons, now leads the African rush to embrace an ancient surgical intervention against a modern scourge.
Media reports said UN agencies are providing technical support to help Swazi government implement circumcision campaign and increase number of men receiving the procedure.
"Teams of Israeli surgeons, led by Inon Schenker of Jerusalem AIDS Project have trained 10 Swazi doctors on how to safely and efficiently perform the operation with limited resources," said a report.
AIDS epidemic has devastated the nation, reversing all of its economic and social gains since its independence from Britain four decades ago.
Swaziland suffers world's highest AIDS rates, with nearly 40 per cent of pregnant women and 19 percent of its 1.1 million people infected.
Universal male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa could prevent 5.7 million new infections and three million deaths over 20 years, according to modeling studies cited by UN.
Reports said though circumcision is important to reduce spread of HIV, mass male circumcision will create additional challenges to overstretched facilities in a country with only 170 doctors.
"There are growing fears that kindest cut may actually be a double-edged sword if patients deceive themselves into thinking they are now immune to developing HIV," report further cautioned.
Head of emergency committee for HIV/AIDS, Von Wissel, said spending on HIV/AIDS this year is $36 million, though he said it is not enough to tackle an epidemic that is destroying Swazi society.
On other sectors, food production is said to have plummeted because sick families are too poor to buy seeds and too weak to plant crops. School attendance is also said to be down, with the country having recorded an estimated 130,000 orphans and vulnerable children.
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